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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Spotless Sunshine of the…

posted by on October 22 at 19:36 PM

rodent mind.

Targeted memory erasure is no longer limited to the realm of science fiction. A new study describes a method through which a selected set of memories can be rapidly and specifically erased from the mouse brain in a controlled and inducible manner….

“While memories are great teachers and obviously crucial for survival and adaptation, selectively removing incapacitating memories, such as traumatic war memories or an unwanted fear, could help many people live better lives,” says Dr. Joe Z. Tsien, brain scientist and co-director of the Brain & Behavior Discovery Institute at the Medical College of Georgia School of Medicine.

Add memories of failed relationships to that list, doc.

RSS icon Comments


Jesus, that's scary.

Posted by Jessie | October 22, 2008 7:50 PM

I have a bunch of movies I'd LOVE to be able to see for the first time again. Music, too! Sign me UP.

Posted by bop | October 22, 2008 8:08 PM

They talked about that on Radio Lab like two months ago...very interesting.

Posted by Danielle | October 22, 2008 8:12 PM

My fiance does brain stuff on mice.

Posted by sepiolida | October 22, 2008 8:20 PM

Heavy drinking not good enough for you?

Posted by John Bailo | October 22, 2008 8:48 PM

i'd like to do it. how about erasing the last 8 years!

Posted by xina | October 22, 2008 8:56 PM

I want to get rid of any traces of those long assed YoutTube and SNL clips that you see all over the blogs nowadays. They mostly suck, and did I mention how long the can get to be? Mostly I want to forget that I was gullible enough to click 'Play' just because somebody said it was worth it.

Posted by elenchos | October 22, 2008 9:01 PM


I want to enforce a two sentence rule on comments about videos.

Posted by John Bailo | October 22, 2008 9:10 PM

Memory of a situation helps you learn from it. That which doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

Posted by Ren | October 22, 2008 9:14 PM

This totally skeeves me out. Can you imagine what the right wing freaks a la Sarah Palin and that Bachmann woman would want the government to do with this technology?

Posted by Katy | October 22, 2008 9:17 PM

It just occurred to me Dan, the anti-gay marriage people would be lobbying for this to be used on homosexuals to "treat" or "cure" them.

Freaky implications for the future.

Posted by Katy | October 22, 2008 9:19 PM


Actually the evil guy in Eternal Sunshine was a weedy bisexual kind of guy who interfered with a normal heterosexual relationship and tried to warp it to include himself.

Posted by John Bailo | October 22, 2008 10:13 PM

A hearty "LOL" to you sir!

Posted by mnm | October 23, 2008 12:42 AM

I second!

Posted by Patrick | October 23, 2008 1:48 AM

John Bailo, you don't just have a warped view of reality, you also have a warped view of my favorite movie.

I pity you.

Posted by raisedbywolves | October 23, 2008 2:30 AM

Sweet. I can't wait to be Rick Rolled for the first time all over again.

Posted by Buck Bailey | October 23, 2008 6:38 AM

Did I leave a comment on this post last night?

Posted by Bob | October 23, 2008 6:51 AM

I can definitely see applications for severe trauma like war memories and rape. Erasing relationships? Not a very good application for this technology.

Posted by UNPAID BLOGGER | October 23, 2008 8:06 AM

bailo, you are quite unhinged.

Posted by ellarosa | October 23, 2008 8:35 AM

Sounds like the morning after a binge. "I sucked your WHAT last night?"

Posted by Vince | October 23, 2008 11:54 AM

It's a bad idea to erase ANY memory, good or bad. How else are people going to learn from their mistakes?

Posted by Sleestak | October 23, 2008 11:55 AM

The most disturbing aspect of the application of this technology would be the fact that people would lose the memories but not the changes associated with them.

Imagine that you have an encounter with a knife weilding maniac in a particular location and you develop a fear of that location.

Your first most likely 'compensation' would be to avoid the location. If this didn't work you may wish to remove the memory of the attack.

Once the attack memory is removed however, you would still have the memory of avoiding the location, but no longer have any known (to you) reason for doing so.

You may start to suffer form some cognitive dissonance issues in not wanting to walk down 'that street', but having no idea why.

You may start to have feelings of paranoia in not knowing why things are not clear in your head (ie memories missing).

Bearing in mind that most of the people close to you would know of the trama they would have to hide that knowledge from you. This might increase your feelings of things being hidden from you.

What is a person but the sum total of their memories?

The cruellest part of dementia it would seem is the hollowing out of people as they lose all contact with their memories and their sense of self.

This would be a bad application of technology in this psychologist's opinion.

Posted by Malcolm In Sydney | October 23, 2008 5:14 PM

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